Peiwen was born and grew up in Xinjiang, in northwest China. She received her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Nankai University in 2007. She joined Professor Wangqing Zhang's lab in her junior year, and worked on the synthesis, characterization and application of block copolymer micelles and polymer-supported colloidal metal nanoparticles.
Peiwen received a "best poster" award from the 238th National American Chemical Society Meeting in Washington D.C. in 2009. In 2007, she won the third Prize "Challenge Cup" National Undergraduate Competition. The Etsong Group awarded her a scholarship in 2005. Most recently, in 2010, Peiwen presented her work on "An Extremely Crosslinked Silicone and its Utility in Nanoimprint Lithography and Capillary Force Lithography" at the International Symposium on Polymer Chemistry in Suzhou, China, and won a poster award.
When asked why she chose the Polymer Science & Engineering Department at UMass, Peiwen stated, "Polymer scientists are lucky: we can design and synthesize new materials with desired properties, and sometimes even bring them to real applications. Since UMass PSE is the best program in the field of polymers around the world, I applied to PSE when I was a senior, and very fortunately, I was accepted."
At present, she continues her career in PSE under the supervision of Professor Thomas J. McCarthy. As a fifth-year PhD student, her research is focused on the design and control of both the bulk and surface properties of silicone-based materials. She has developed silicone materials with very unusual properties and multiple potential applications.
Peiwen states, "Self-Healing silicone is my favorite project. It is great that we can make some material that will heal it's own cracks. For example, we may coat our vehicles, kitchen counter, desks, etc., with this material, and all the surfaces would be scratch and dent free. I am amazed at how "smart" the resulting material can be after putting in lots of hard work and dedication!"
Peiwen is currently working on the surface modification of various silicones using physical and chemical methods. She is endeavoring to make hydrophilic surfaces that are stable indefinitiely, and then further control their surface properties using silane chemistry. These surfaces have potential applications as microfluidic devices, soft lithography stamps and protein adhesion substrates.
Peiwen is dedicated to polymer research. After graduation, she is eager to continue to create new materials as she engages her career in industry.